Saturday, September 25, 2010

Back-Up Washers for 3/32" Hollow Rivets

When using hollow ("Pop") rivets to fasten leather or fabric, you need to slip a close-fitting washer (back-up washer) onto the rivet before crimping it, so there'll be an unyielding encirclement for the rivet to 'peen' against. Flat washers dimensioned specifically for the purpose are available.

I needed back-up washers for 3/32" rivets this morning, and I wasn't about to waste time and fuel to go shopping for them. I looked in on my limited stock of No. 2 screw size items, and there I had a supply of No. 2 flat washers. They're 3/32" (0.09375") inside diameter, but they're not a slip fit on 3/32" rivets. Running a No. 41 (0.096") drill through them solved the problem. They worked perfectly. Pictured below is how I held them for drilling:

There's one little downside to this -- the washer gets marred by the Vise-Grip jaws. Aside from that, though, the method works fine.

If I ever come up with a good non-marring way to grip the tiny washers for drilling, I'll append it to this post.

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Addendum -- A Non-Marring Way to Grip Small Washers

I found a way to do this. You need a spare 3/8" gear chuck, and a smooth, hard surface like the back of a Record mechanic's vise.

Have the chuck opened up to accept a diameter slightly greater than that of a washer.

Invert the chuck over top of a washer and carefully snug up the chuck by hand. You'll end up with this.

Tighten the chuck some with its key, and you're set up for enlarging the washer's hole slightly.

I've noticed that some of the 3/32" rivets I have on hand are a wee bit oversize, and a No.41 drill isn't quite big enough. A No. 40 (0.098") drill is needed for those.

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